Daylight Savings Time Change Not a Problem for Most Computers
Digital Effects of Earlier Daylight Savings near Zero, Industry Says
March 09, 2007
This weekend's early onset of Daylight Savings Time (DST) won't hurt IT or telecom beyond a minor nuisance, players told us, countering media alarms. Major firms in both sectors have pushed patches letting devices incorporate the change, made in 2005. The biggest challenge is for companies whose services involve scheduling, many said, since a missed update anywhere along the chain could trigger mishaps.
U.S. companies will spend about $1 billion to update all their software for this year's change, said David Milman, CEO, Rescuecom, an IT emergency security firm. In the long run, he agrees with 2005 amendment sponsors House Telecom & Internet Subcommittee Chmn. Markey (D-Mass.) and Ranking Member Upton (R-Mich.), that it will save U.S. tech and telecom companies billions more than they spend, he said.
Many platforms already are DST-compliant, Milman said. "If you're running [Windows] Vista, you're ready to go," he said; so is the latest Mac operating system. But some earlier versions, plus most scheduling-intensive handsets like BlackBerrys, require users to download and install updates, he said. "A lot of VoIP systems are running on Linux," which could create problems with voice mail and time stamping, he said. The need to reach out for updates could cause problems for distracted users, Milman said, "but the first time they miss an appointment because their computer clock was off they're not going to be happy."
"The tech industry has been ready for a long time" said a spokesman for the Information Technology Assn. of America. He said the group was pushing user organizations to have formal plans as recently as a month ago. Worst case, this weekend could see snarled transactions, departures, arrivals and other "small annoyances," but even those might not be widespread, he said. Potential complication: the need for proper updates of every step along the "chain of command," he said: "You need to reach out not only to your own IT department but all your partners and vendors because an error could make it's way through the chain."
A CTIA spokesman said needed fixes by and large are in place for mobile devices in the U.S. A spokesman for Microsoft, which had to issue patches for its pre-Vista operating systems, said "obviously it's more of a nuisance than anything else," but seconded the hypothesis envisioning some scheduling breakdowns because "everyone has to be updated for it to work."
Computer problems were predicted in 1985-1986, the last time DST changed, but none surfaced, a Markey spokesman said, calling hyperbole about a "mini-Y2K" overwrought. Markey has been publicized the change to industry and pushed the Dept. of Transportation, which oversees DST, to do likewise, he said. In the energy bill's 2005 passage, "we deliberately worked to ensure that the extension did not go into effect until now to allow the various industries sufficient time to make any appropriate adjustments in anticipation of the change," Upton said: "With the diligent efforts of the tech sector, our calendars and clocks on our cell phones, blackberries, palms etc. will make the seamless spring forward this weekend." -- Ian Martinez
Copyright © 2007 by Warren Communications News, Inc. Reproduction or retransmission in any form, without written permission, is a violation of Federal Statute (17 USC01 et seq.).
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